What Is The Secret Truth About Your Marketing Plan?

Digital Marketing Strategy

So you have a strategy for your digital marketing?

Working with the swirling realities of digital and social media marketing can feel like trying to quietly tread water in a really nasty river rapids that never ends….and then there are the rocks to avoid. As a business owner it’s hard enough. As a marketing professional, it is mind-numbing at times….still, that’s part of what I do and I confess to a kind of the same excitement as that metaphoric water-treader.

I have recently started working with a client who floored me by having something I have not seen in a long time at similarly-sized businesses: an actual Marketing Plan.
Really.
The business owner pulled it up on her laptop and I wanted to hug her…

This isn’t to say that other business owners haven’t spent time thinking about their marketing, but this owner had taken the next step and mapped it out for the next year….and even looked beyond. I identified a number places in the plan where I can add tremendous value (hence our starting to work together…), and we began to discuss the goals, measures and value we can bring to the business. I am totally psyched to begin this project!

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FOCUS: What About Customer Experience and Relationships?

Visitors Audience Customers Community

On the lookout for…?

“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”

This is a common question. You have always viewed your company as one that makes something that others buy (hopefully more than once…), and then you make sure they get it. Pretty much the definition of “transactional”, and, especially if you operate an e-commerce site, you only know them by a name, address and order number. It doesn’t look like the opportunities to establish and grow a relationship, as you’re thinking of it, are that ripe.

…or are they?…

I’ve written before about a descriptive construct I call the VACC. It stands for Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community. There are different ways of looking at the people who interact with your business: The Customer Journey, the Sales Funnel, and so on. Viewing these people through the VACC lens focuses on the stage of the relationship they have with you business, and how you communicate and interact with them. Each stage is valuable and there is no hard line dividing them. Nonetheless, knowing, in greater depth, what each set of these people are looking for, how they act and react to you and your business, what their expectations are, and how you can communicate with them is vital to your business growth. Not knowing is the same as tossing your product out on to a virtual (or real…) sidewalk and hoping the right folks come by.

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More Promising and Valuable: a Partner or a Customer?

Still in the early years of your business and riding the revenue roller coaster? Yeah, me too.

Things are Really Fat for several months (maybe even longer…), so you focus on project delivery and all of the work that entails. Make those clients happy!!!!  Things lighten up a bit, so you take a TEENSY breather (maybe a couple of actual days off in a row….what a concept…).

Things continue to back off, you realize that you’re experiencing the business equivalent of “the pig in the python“, and you’re staring at a mostly empty pipeline. This is not good. You redouble your efforts on business development, lay out some ads, reach out to some referral sources, revisit your business Facebook page (wow….when was the last time you DID that!?), hit those chamber of commerce lunches, contact some leads, and engineer an email campaign, but getting meetings is hard and they all seem to be too busy or in “let’s talk in about 60 days or so” mode.

Again, not so good.

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FOCUS: The Simple Obsession of Mindful Marketing

Mindfulness is a light of honesty within yourself that is fed by each moment that passes.

Mindfulness and “being in the moment” are ancient ideas found across cultures. This self-awareness is partly being truly aware of the moment, and partly acknowledging and letting go of the things and thoughts that cling to you or come flying back at you, only to be noticed and let go of again in that moment. It’s an enlightening and maddening place to be, for sure…

I read an article by Seth Godin recently about self-awareness and marketing that brought me to reconsider the role of marketing in my thought life and decision-making process, and in that of my customers and yours, too. To say that we are all relentlessly marketed to by just about everything and everyone is a statement of the obvious that we have become so numb to that we tend to ignore it.  We are in danger of losing the awareness that can allow us a margin of critical thinking.  Godin writes, “Mostly, marketing is what we call it when someone else is influenced by a marketer. When we’re influenced, though, it’s not marketing, it’s a smart choice.” In other words, it’s not “just marketing” when it influences me! I’m not as influenced by the marketing beast as “those other folks!”

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New Facebook Data: A Powerful Challenge to Fundamentals

Queen of Hearts

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What you knew yesterday may not apply today….

I hate that….you probably do to. In the land of social media and digital marketing it really is like what the Queen of Hearts said to Alice, “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”  Drives me crazy…

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Across My Desk: The Best of the Month of Love & Presidents

There are a LOT of great articles published this past month. Vetting them for you is a pleasure by which I learn more AND glean the “wheat from the chaff”, so to speak.

So here we go!!!!!!

Look at the Stats!

Look at the Stats!

Normally random statistics & numbers flow past my eyes without really catching on anything. These stats are worth looking at because they are recent AND may help you recognize the criticality of have a strategy for your social media marketing, the importance of getting some expert help in this area (that IS what my company does, you know!), and the fact that it likely applies to and impacts your business more than you know.

Facebook flex targeting

Facebook flex targeting

You probably haven’t heard of flex targeting on Facebook. Flex targeting lets you serve Facebook ads to people who share a highly customized combination of interests, behaviors, and demographics. It allows you even more refined and tailored targeting to ensure that your ads get seen by the right folks and don’t get lost in the noise of the other posts and ads.  This is a particularly helpful How-To article.

Keys to Success on Social Media

Keys to Success on Social Media

Major Keys to Success on Social Media

To those of you who have worked with me and with my company, Social Sapiens (or subscribe to my newsletter), the keys listed in this article will sound very familiar. Strategy, intention, discipline, community, #H2H, content…..the building blocks and road to success. If you’d like to check out another solid point of view, read on and enjoy!

Facebook: News Feed Algorithm Now More Influenced By User Feedback & Surveys

Any business that is fully engaged with their visitors, audience, customers and community on Facebook will wish to stay on top of ANYTHING that impacts the news feed. As it states early in the article, “Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is relying more heavily on user feedback and surveys, and not in the form of the traditional signals such as likes, comments and shares.” If you want to find out how this impacts your work on the channel, read on.

Top 10 Social Media Blogs - 2016

Top 10 Social Media Blogs – 2016

Top 10 Social Media Blogs: The 2016 Winners!

One of the biggest challenges of staying on top of what I’ll call “reputable trends” in social media is carefully choosing the voices to listen to. Fortunately, every year Social Media Examiner publishes a list of the top 10 Social Media Blogs from across the industry. The selections are made based upon input from social media professionals and influencers globally. If you wish to add a site or two to your regular “keep the business marketing improving” reading every month (or week), one of these may fit the bill.

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Is there Anything Simple About Simplicity?

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Easy” is a temptation.

I work with many clients who take the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to their digital and social media marketing, because “How hard could it be? It’s just Facebook??!” Besides, they each have a business to run, customers to satisfy and entice, meetings to attend and maybe even employees to work with.

After spending time with each of them to discern their business and marketing goals, I begin to walk them through some of the opportunities and challenges they face and the different ways to optimize and engage, based on the goals and resources available. As we begin to dig into the strategy and planning, each of these business people begin to see the advantages of “doing it right” and where their current process might be falling short, hurting their business.

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Is Your Tribe Remarkable, Unfocused or Mainstream?

Which Tribe do you belong to?

That seems to be an over-riding, occasionally unsaid, concern in our society. Conservative or Liberal? Religious or Agnostic? One percent or ninety-nine percent? Blue collar or white-collar? Introvert or extrovert? College Graduate? Technical? Gender? Race? We have innumerable ways of identifying, classifying and limiting the understanding of ourselves and those around us.  Labels and categories carry assumptions and expectations, whether they’re true or not. And how much of this relies upon context? It’s something that has challenged our species for all time and it doesn’t seem to be getting better….

That’s a pretty broad brush with which to start a conversation.

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The Truth About Revealing Your Customers’ Wishes

Personalized MarketingHow do you crawl into the heads of your customers?
The answer to that question is what’s really at the heart of any successful business. There is an entire industry built around researching customers, numerous methodologies to discern what they see as a good, bad or “Meh…” experience or product, and how to improve that experience (or ‘manage‘ it, in the terminology of the industry). I marvel at the ambition and sheer chutzpah of companies and consultants who aim at controlling people’s behavior via marketing, sales and customer support. Big data, social psychometrics, networking behavior, deep psychological studies and historical patterns can give some great insights, but we’re talking about people….and people are notoriously fickle. In these times when a customer experience or journey takes them online and off-line, as well as through numerous stages of relationships with companies, trying to maintain the thread of great experience, moving to deeper engagement and eventual sales and referrals….well, needless to say, it takes a lot of work.

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Obsessed With Success for 2016? It’s Almost Here!

Is there an actual name for the time between Christmas and New Years? If there isn’t, there should be…..it always feels just plain weird to me.

That said, it’s that time when I take a look back, past the shredded wrapping paper, immense amount of food and goodies, emergency trips and 2016 business planning to the Top Five Posts for December. There’s always a lot to be learned and reminded of, and these articles do the trick!

Lots O' Social Media

Lots O’ Social Media

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